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MHS students teach second-graders about 'germ warfare'
Connection between clean hands, health stressed
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Health Education students from Martinsville High School lead an exercise about germs with second-graders in Marlene Smith’s class at Albert Harris Elementary. From left are high schoolers Ashley Faw, Kristen Moore (in back), Maranda Johns and Schaquoria Barber. Second-graders from left) are Holly Nguyen, Bryan Romero, Isaac Garcia and Adrienne Smith. (Contributed photo)
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

With cold and flu season in full swing, four health education students from Martinsville High School brought a timely lesson on germs to a class of second-graders.

Using pictures, games and even a blacklight, high school seniors Schaquoria Barber, Ashley Faw, Maranda Johns and Kristen Moore taught Marlene Smith’s class at Albert Harris Elementary School about what germs are and how to protect against them. The four students make up the health education team of Martinsville High School’s chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).

The younger students learned they can protect against the spread of germs by washing their hands frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if a sink is not available and avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Not only should they wash their hands before eating, the HOSA students warned, they should use a clean paper towel to turn off the water because there are germs on the faucet.

The second-graders also learned about proper hand-washing technique, using warm water and lots of soap. The second-graders laughed when the older students told them to “sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the germs” while rubbing their hands under the water. Singing the birthday song twice ensures that they spend enough time scrubbing.

To show the second-graders the dangers lurking on their hands, the HOSA team had the children rub a special lotion on their unwashed palms, then shined a black light on their hands. Areas with germs showed up as white marks. A loud “ewww” went up from the class as they saw the patches of germs. If they stick their hands in their mouths or suck their thumbs, those germs get into their bodies and can make them sick, the HOSA students said. After looking at their hands under the light, the students then washed their hands and compared them under the blacklight.

“I think it is so cool and that it’s a good, smart thing to do,” said second-grader Holly Nguyen after looking at her hands under the light. “They are trying to help us learn about germs. They want to know we’re going to wash our hands and we’re not going to get sick.”

At the end of their presentation, the HOSA students handed out gift bags that included a mini hand sanitizer for each student.

“I learned that germs can be dangerous,” said Bryan Romero after the presentation.

Jayden Fitzgerald said he learned he can protect against germs by “not sucking my thumb” and by “washing my hands.”


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